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Pumpkin Dal-icious

November 26, 2010

I have not one, but TWO dal dishes you can make with pumpkin (or acorn/butternut squash). This is a great dish for Thanksgiving or just during the late fall harvest season. I acquired two acorn squashes from my former roommate’s garden in Toronto and wanted to make something spicy with them. It ended up being two recipes over two days, since I had much too much puréed squash for just the one.

Here’s what happened.

Pumpkin Dal-icious – The Original, by joe vegan

(inspired by:


  • 2 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups water (or whatever the lentils package tells you to use)
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp walnut or olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out


  1. Cut squash/pumpkin in half and get rid of the seeds and stringy bits. Place cut side up on baking pan and spread a bit of olive oil on the flesh. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and put in preheated oven (say, 350°F) until flesh can easily be poked through with a fork. (You may opt to rather microwave the squash.)
  2. When squash is ready, scoop out the flesh and into a food processor or blender, and let it rip. (If there’s time to kill, you may want to let the flesh cool first before puréeing it.)
  3. Meanwhile, cook lentils, but be careful not to overcook! (I’ve noticed red lentils cook fast, so don’t follow the ridiculous instructions on the package. Follow your instincts. You want them to be somewhat firm when you bite into them. Think orzo, not pudding.)
  4. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, fry onion in oil or a bit of water over medium.
  5. When onion is translucent (not brown), add spices and then the pumpkin/squash mush.
  6. Finally, add the cooked lentils (drained if needed), the lime juice, the spinach and the coconut. Mix well. (2-3 mins.)
  7. Serve over brown rice or couscous.

Pumpkin Dal-icious – The Remix, by joe vegan


  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 6-8 cups of water (or whatever package says)
  • 2 cubes veg bouillon
  • 1 cup pumpkin/squash purée
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 med. carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar (or other sweetner)
  • 3 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 2 red chillies (dried)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)


  1. In a bit of olive oil in a deep saucepan, fry onions, garlic, and chillies over medium-high (1-2 min.).
  2. Add lentils, water, and bouillon and cook (Green takes longer than red to make. It’s also fatter.)
  3. 10 minutes before lentils are ready, add the carrots and celery. Cook for 10 mins. more.
  4. (Hopefully all the water has been absorbed!) Add everything else.
  5. Serve over couscous or brown rice and garnish with cilantro (optional).

Whoa. Those recipes took me longer to write than expected. I hope some lost and hungry soul out there at least tries one of them so that I know this effort was not in vain.

Oh, and ps, I know I made a quick reference above to Thanksgiving, but it deserves an additional note that this post falls around American Thanksgiving and probably the worst/cruelest time of the year to buy a turkey in the U.S.  It’s hard to not buy one and succumb to family traditions, but hopefully this year, you are at least a little more aware of the impact it has on the lives of such beautiful social creatures.

Instead of posting a video of turkey cruelty which takes place on factory farms, particularly around Thanksgiving time to meet the incredible demand, I will instead share a link, which reports on the only “turkey dinner” I would ever endorse: Turkey Feast at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.





One Comment leave one →
  1. November 27, 2010 10:26 am

    Hey joe vegan! I just discovered this blog through the Ottawa Veg mailing list. I’m a resident of Ottawa but currently traveling. I’ll be back soon and look forward to reading your restaurant reviews and recipes, knowing I can go to the same places and find all the ingredients. Great recipe, by the way! I’ve never heard of pumpkin dal but dig the idea :)

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